Herb Butter-and-Goat Cheese Linguine

  • 4 Servings
  • Prep 10 mins
  • Cook 10 mins


  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups chopped multicolored heirloom tomatoes


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladleful of the pasta cooking water.

  2. While the pasta is working, in a serving bowl, add the crumbled goat cheese. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the white wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley, dill, tarragon and thyme. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water.

  3. Add the pasta to the goat cheese. Pour the herb sauce on top, season with pepper and toss for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and toss gently for another minute; season with salt and pepper.

I loved how easy and yet impressive this Rachael Ray recipe seemed and knew I wanted to make it. I'd never cooked with shallots, tarragon or fresh dill before so I wasn't nervous, more curious. Tarragon smells a bit like licorice and/or tea and can be a bit of an overwhelming flavor. Shallots are an awesome hybrid of garlic and onion taste. Amazing. I had skipped them for years, using onions instead, for so long because they looked scary and unfamiliar. But once you get the skin off they look very similar to an onion. Plus I've seen Rach cut enough of them that I knew what to do. Anyway the recipe was delicious. It would've been even heartier with some mushrooms, chicken or shrimp (or all 3 if you really want to go crazy).


Lime Margarita Cupcakes

If you know nothing else about me, you know I love lime and margaritas and lime margaritas. Perfect complements to my fave cuisine: Mexican food. Mmmm. All day mmmmm. So I decided to try these cupcakes from Rachael Ray magazine. DELICIOUS!

  • 24 Servings
  • Prep 55 min
  • Cook 25 min


  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, plus 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • Grated peel of 4 limes, plus 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gold tequila
  • 1 drop green food coloring
  • 1/2 cup large multicolored sugar crystals
  • 24 lime wedge candies


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 cupcake pans with baking liners. Using an electric mixer, beat 2 sticks butter and the granulated sugar until creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, egg white and oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. In a large glass measuring cup, stir together the milk, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. On low speed, mix in one-third of the wet mixture, then one-third of the dry mixture. Repeat twice, ending with the dry mixture. Mix in half of the grated lime peel.

  3. Fill each baking liner about three-quarters full with batter. Bake until the cupcakes spring back when gently touched, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, using the electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 stick butter until creamy. Beat in 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Beat in the tequila, and the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, lime peel, 1 teaspoon salt and the food coloring until smooth and creamy. Beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar one-third at a time, until just soft enough to spread.

  5. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes. Add the sugar crystals to a bowl; lay each frosted cupcake on its side in the bowl and gently rotate to form a rim of sugar. Top each cupcake with a lime wedge candy.

I made this as a cake because I realized my boyfriend didn't have cupcake tins. No problem. Just doubled the length of time in the oven and checked with a toothpick in the center. When it came out clean, it was ready. I thought the tequila would be stronger. It gave an interesting flavor to the frosting wasn't expected. I still liked it and Rashan really liked the cake.


Diner Disaster

Several new restaurants have opened up near my mom's house so we of course had to try some out while I'm home. Our first stop was to Sweet T's Diner. In a brand new building, the diner was a modern version of a retro cafe. It was cute. Above the "lunch counter" there were 3 giant flat screens but you couldn't hear any of them and they didn't have closed captioning... why? There's music on so what's the reasoning behind the tvs if you can't hear them and there is no sports programming? They could've at least had CC or even those boxes on the table where you tune to whichever station to which you want to listen.
The decor led me to believe the menu would be much more interesting than it was, but it took a page from most diners and spread the gamut of food options. The worst was definitely the Metro Cafe outside Atlanta near Stone Mountain. That menu had at least 4 different cuisines on 10 pages (Stop with the menu schizophrenia! You can't possibly keep that much fresh food.) and the worst service I have ever experienced.

But back to Sweet T's, since breakfast was served all day, my mom and I decided to go with the make your own omelets. I had cheddar, ham, spinach and mushrooms with a side of sausage, grits and a biscuit. The biscuits didn't come out with our meal but there was no explanation for why not and then I couldn't find my waitress to tell her. When we first got there, she seemed to be a good waitress but by the time we left she had too many tables apparently because she seemed overly harried and unable to focus... though there weren't that many people in the restaurant.

We sent the grits back before she got them on the table good because they were in clumps. When they first approached our table, I thought they were lumpy mashed potatoes. That's how thick they were. Not going to work. My mom and I got the home fries instead. After a period which took almost as long as our original meal, we got the home fries and they were undercooked. The biscuits were ugly and overly dense but tasted okay if a bit crunchy. No flake at all. I've seen frozen biscuits in the supermarket that looked better. (The kind that come individually frozen are AMAZING!!) You can't serve breakfast all day with that biscuit, though. This is the south. It needs work.

And worst of all: my omelet. WAY too much ham and a heavy hand with the salt. The mushrooms and spinach inside were delicious when I could find them but the salt in the egg and the salty ham combination forced me to massacre the omelet to get to the mushrooms and spinach, leaving an abundance of ham and egg on the plate. The side of sausage was good, but I had to ignore most of it as well to overcome the salty omelet. And it repeated on me. I woke up the next morning with heart ache. Thanks salt. I won't be going back.